Mining giant BHP has committed close to $800 million into buying more homegrown products and services, and help train up to 3500 new trainees under a five-year program.
The package announced on Thursday will see BHP spend up to $450 million on contracts with Australian Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) companies, work to source more local products and services and invest in technology pilot projects.
BHP will also pour $300 million into opening 2500 apprenticeships positions through its FutureFit Academy, and invest a further $30 million in creating 1000 skills development opportunities in regional Australia. The miner will work with the Federal Department of Education Skills and Employment on the regional training program.
BHP’s FutureFit Academy, established in March this year, offers trade apprenticeship and maintenance traineeships. Training is delivered in conjunction with CQ University and North Metropolitan TAFE (Perth). The program has enrolled more than 450 people since launch.
The miner’s chief executive Mike Henry said the program offered BHP a chance to make a meaningful contribution to Australia’s path out of the COVID-19 crisis.
“As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” he said in a statement.
“The mining and METS sector is a critical pillar of our economy, and it has never been more important than now.”
“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can
make to help Australia bounce back,” Mr Henry added.
BHP’s announcement coincides with a pledge from the federal government for a $1.5 billion package in the upcoming budget to sustain local manufacturing.
According to the government, the manufacturing plan could create 80,000 jobs directly, and about 300,000 more indirectly by helping companies modernise their factories and ramp up exports.
BHP employs approximately 45,000 people in Australia and Mr Henry said investing in jobs will not only boost the broader economy but also help secure a skilled workforce.
“These investments will create a pipeline of future talent in highly skilled roles, working in an industry that delivers essential products to the world and generates export dollars that keep the Australian economy strong,” he said.
Source: Thanks smh.com